Niklas Luhmann and the sociology of the constitution
AbstractThis article argues that, from the first emergence of sociology as a distinct discipline, the sociology of constitutions, as a body of critical responses to the facts/norms dichotomy at the core of Enlightenment constitutionalism, has been an important but rather submerged area of sociological inquiry. Currently, there are unmistakeable signs that constitutional sociology is being consolidated as a distinct sub-discipline of theoretical sociology as a whole. This is evident in particular in the body of sociological constitutionalism associated with post-Luhmannian systems analysis, which focuses especially on the constitutions of world society. However, the article argues that the plausible premises for a fully sociological approach to constitutions and their normative functions of legitimation have not yet been established, and it offers a normative re-reading of Luhmann’s own theory as a foundation for a constitutional sociology.